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  • Writer's pictureKara Chatham

LEGOs: Community & Leadership

I’m currently reading a book for my position as a Resident Assistant – Toy Box Leadership by Ron Hunter Jr. & Michael E. Waddell. It makes sense for the Housing Department to assign a leadership book to their staff because we are all in a form a leadership at some point in our lives – more specifically as RAs, we are leaders in the residence halls. As I was reading the LEGO section, I came across something that I wish people would just understand in general.

…your relationships are more important than your position.

(Hunter 5)

It does not matter if you are in a leadership position or not. This quote is full of so much truth, and I didn’t even quote a complete sentence. Relationships are super important. Without relationships there isn’t much of a point to life. We, as humans, are designed to be in community with others. Just because someone says that they are comfortable alone (I have said that quite a bit in my twenty-one years of life) does not mean that they do not wish to be a part of a community. I do not know of anyone who has decided to be anti-community. There might be some communities that a person may not feel comfortable in, but I promise that we are designed to be in community with other people (I will not promise that I will not get side tracked or not go on mini-tangents – you’ve been warned). In Genesis is says that God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone” (2:18, ESV). This is talking about the importance of companionship. We are not created to be alone; we are created to be in community. Created to have relationships with other people, not have endless amounts of power over them.

Through all of the organizations that I have been a part of, I have definitely had my share of great leaders and not-so-great leaders. Looking back on those situations, those whom I honestly consider to be great leaders were the ones who took a moment to actually build a relationship with me. Through that relationship came encouragement which then created a positive environment. I’m sure you can guess the components of the not-so-great leader category. These leaders were the ones who were just happy that they had some kind of power and made certain to lord it over everyone who was supposed to be under it. It was always clear that they didn’t care about forming relationships; they just cared about the power.

I hope that as I am in this leadership position, titled Resident Assistant, that the residents who are placed in my care (and fellow staffers) see that it is my desire to build a relationship with them, not to boss them around. Will I have to exert my authority at times? Yes. Could this change the way they look at me? That is possible. I still hope that they see my desire to create a community amongst them (Third Floor, Hard Core! I’m just a bit excited).

Pulling things a bit back to the book, the fact that the authors used LEGOs as the toy to explain the importance of relationships reminded me of something I learned a while back. Back in 2012, I attended the Passion Conference in Atlanta. I was in the Glitter Blue Community Group and the way that our group leader explained the importance of community was through LEGOs. He specifically said…

There is nothing lamer than a single LEGO.

If you think about it, you know it’s true. What can you do with just one LEGO? Anything? The only thing that I can think of that you can do with one LEGO is potentially cause pain for someone. Because let’s be honest, it hurts fiercely when you step on a LEGO – that is kind of beside the point though. The point is that you cannot do anything constructive with just one LEGO. You need more than one to create something. You need more than one person to create a community. If there is no community, then there is no point for there to be leaders. So why not take the time to help form the community? To be a part of the community? To encourage the community?

I cannot say that I do this perfectly all the time, because I definitely don’t. It has taken me years to actually take this from the “I know it” stage to the “I apply it” stage. Even then, there are still days where my community involvement is not what it should be. That is just a part of being human – we do things with a dash of imperfection. Those are some thoughts I had that were inspired by eight words that I read in a book.

Until next time… Kara

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